|Index||8 reviews in total|
After the flood of Who-DVDs we've seen lately and the fact that "The
Kids Are Alright" is a pretty definite document not only on the story
of The Who but on Rock 'N' Roll as a whole, I was more than skeptical
whether this new documentary on Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John
Entwistle and Keith Moon was really necessary. Well, I'm a fan so I
picked the DVD up anyway and having just watched it I'm more than glad
that I did.
I didn't learn anything completely new, but the "Amazing Journey" of The Who is so entertaining and peppered with such a great number of fantastic songs that it's just a real joy to watch it all being told once again. Besides, previous Who-films like "The Kids Are Alright" or "30 Years Of Maximum R&B" didn't really contain that many facts, but concentrated more on live performances. "Amazing Journey" takes a different approach and features lots of statements by the band, their producers, managers and folks who accompanied them along the way, as well as a few fans (Eddie Vedder, Noel Gallagher, Sting, The Edge, Steve Jones). The movie also features lots of amazing and previously unseen footage of live appearances, recording sessions and historic interviews. At 120 minutes running time the makers did a fine job touching most of the cornerstones in the band's career - just why didn't "Live At Leeds" get a mention? - while still keeping the pacing tight.
Yep, this is definitely recommendable for any The Who fan, even those who already have like 20 DVDs by that band on the shelf. "Amazing Journey" definitely inspires to dig them all up again and remember why Pete Townshend and the other three loons were one of the greatest bands that ever existed.
Just saw Amazing Journey at the Toronto International Film Festival. I
must admit that this was not a first pick as I was looking for
something different for my closing day film.
Amazing Journey will be an orgasmic experience for Who devotees. The band went through several tragedies, including the deaths of Keith Moon and John Entwhistle. There were many violent fights between Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend. Daltrey might have been the pretty boy frontman but Townsend was the artist, one who was deeply insecure about never being able to surpass the artistic merits of either Tommy or Quadrophenia.
In the end, what emerges is a portrait of young men who let music permeate their lives. It's really about one's passion towards one's craft. Yes, there are lots of indulgences along the way: expensive toys, women, sycophants, and drugs. But as we see with the maturing of the Daltrey and Townsend friendship, the journey is a tough but essential part of aging gracefully into the elder statesmen of rock.
The loss of Entwhistle was devastating for both men who already carried much guilt over the death of Keith Moon. They just didn't see the signs of Entwhistle's flirtations with drugs. He dies on the eve of a reunion tour and they go on because it's important to keep the memory alive.
It is great to know that such a testimony to this band is available. What a shame it would be for younger generations to only know them as the band that made theme songs for the CSI franchise.
The major concern with history is that it tends to repeat itself. What
we have seen already, with the 1979 Who biopic The Kids Are Alright and
with other media outlets such as literature, film, television, the
internet and of course word-of-mouth, for example, is that a pattern of
over-saturation soon emerges, and in turn, the transparency of the
whole exercise finally comes to its pinnacle.
Adding the Who's latest addition "Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who" to its fold of historical repartee, at least, can only stretch the limits of rhetoric so far as to simply wonder what can be said that already has not been said. Murray Lerner, some years back, when researching this project, set up a website for the soul purpose of gaining untamed and fresh anecdotes and visual oddities from far and wide. Searching for an untapped source of Who experience to place in his, then, up-and-coming Who biopic.
Here we have once more Messrs Daltrey and Townshend (drummer Moon died at the age of 32 in 1978 and bassist Entwistle passed away in 2002 aged 57) reminiscing on past accolades, adventures and just the sheer wonder of it all. With an interesting start, we see London's brunt-out and bombed streets that were World War II and the connection of an era of poverty and a monochrome childhood. All nostalgic and relevant as setting the seeds of attitude and rebellion to a world of trad-jazz in the wake of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra etc. All this feels relevant but the history lesson is only placed in a different perspective, and, we remain in the same zone, to fill the empty coffers of time that this historical event must dictate.
This project, we should realise, is for the new audience, the new millennium, multimedia in-crowed of Who fans who have had the pleasure of their reformed concerts, their twenty-four hour, seven days a week internet broadcasts and their "MTV" appearances to headlining Europe's largest festival, during 2007, which is Glastonbury. New images not yet seen, mixed with old, and opinions not yet heard are brought together in a perpetual and wonderful montage spliced together to create an effective dossier of information already available in other formats, only here, we have special guest speakers, friends and family adding their thoughts and opinions.
Youth culture picks up during the early sixties and we are introduced to the group's member's infatuation with the US' Blues and then the introduction of Keith Moon. Taking on a more verbally educational stance, this film is less visual montage, like its predecessor of 1979, and we are left in the room of these teachers' and their clips of nostalgia. A contemporary audience will find this riveting as too, no doubt, fans of a longer standing who know already of the line-up and name changes in their early career, as too, their affiliation of the English Mod youth sub-culture. Original footage of rioting, dancing and scooter riding gangs here are an asset to this documentary and adds a characteristic and texture like no other, this is a necessity to the heritage of both the Who and the swinging sixties. For a more realistic look into this lifestyle of sixties gang-culture, one should see the Who film, of 1979, Quadrophenia, based on and around the 1973 concept album of the same name. What has excelled this film more than anything else is the added footage, the rarely screened performance, of the band when known as The High Numbers during August of 1964 at London's The Railway Hotel; this is truly the diamond in the crown of this project and is worth watching for this reason alone.
This film works well in the process of education and entertainment and looks at all aspects of their development, to the beginnings, to the destructive days of the sixties etc. What is questionable, is with all that has come and gone with Who media there are new statements and reasoning's that have never been heard. How much has never been spoken and how much is fabricated is subjective: filling the void with rock 'n roll rhetoric, perhaps?
Respect goes out to their long, arduous work schedule throughout their long career, and nothing exemplifies this more than the Joe McMichael & 'Irish' Jack Lyons book "The Who Concert File", listing every show, gig and concert in the Who's entire lifespan. This way of life is too picked on by the film, but what is, and seems the norm, most curious is the missing archive footage of the managers Peter Meaden and Kit Lambert.
Trying its best not to repeat the insights of The Kids Are Alright, it does regurgitate some already known historical facts, but it also stands very firmly as an individual on centre stage to perform, transcend and perpetuate the myth that is The Who. Paul Crowder and Murray Lerner have done an excellent job with the material given, and with skills combined, have now turned over the thirty-three and a third, and with this fresh, re-mixed approach, made a fitting epitaph to this epic, amazing journey that is The Who.
Let's be honest, like always (yeah right): I love the Who but I have
yet to visit a lot of their stuff. Right now I'm listening to the Who a
lot, the list of recent reproductions in my iTunes is basically of the
Who, Tom Waits (can't wait to find a copy of the film Big Time), Kings
of Leon (probably my favourite "modern" band, I'm listening a lot to
their first two albums, also I love the third one and some songs of the
latest one, and ready for their show in Mexico City in October!),
Creedence Clearwater Revival (last week I got the new edition of
Woodstock on Blu-Ray and I'm loving the 3 songs of CCR. Wish we had
more CCR but still are awesome the bonus performances of them, of the
Who, Canned Heat, Johnny Winter, Santana, etc.) and Isaac Hayes' (from
the soundtrack of Shaft mostly) songs.
So I came across with the R4 DVD of this documentary, Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who, and I'm so glad I decided to get it. Frankly, I know much more about the Who after seeing it, one of the other two prolific authors here in the IMDb page of Amazing Journey remarks that he didn't learn anything new, I saw part of the documentary with my uncle and he pretty much knew everything but he agreed with me that this is extremely well-done.
Pretty much when the runtime marks 30 minutes is when "I Can't Explain" appears. At one point, just before we can hear "I Can't Explain" Roger Daltrey says this: "I got to admit that I felt that we were special I remember one thing that we were very much aware of was that we were still copying another people's songs". And it's just great when the Who's first release starts, but what was going on before? Well, the first ones that began playing together were Pete Townshend and John Entwistle and later on John met the bully Roger you know. Certainly it's awesome the chapter "Who the f*** are you?" that begins with Roger recalling when a ginger Beach Boys fan came and said to him with all the arrogance in the world something like "I heard you are looking for a drummer, well I'm much better than the one you got". A Who fan and original mod recalls how the Who came out as the High Numbers and how the drummer was absolutely mental! (just awesome that footage of the High Numbers at the Railway Hotel from 1964, there are bits in the film but the full 7 or so minutes of the only left footage of the uncompleted film by Stamp and Lambert are on the second disc).
Apart of having interviews with Roger, Pete, Who managers, familiars, etc. we have musicians, fans better said: Eddie Vedder, Sting, Noel Gallagher, the Edge. I love when the Edge picks up his acoustic guitar and plays "My Generation" ("when you're a kid and you pick up the guitar for the first time you just want to make that sound"). And well the different periods in the story of the Who, the tension between 1966 and 1967 (Monterey, going before Hendrix), LSD with Pete into Maher Baba (legendary American TV appearance, explosives!), 1968 with a change in the industry, Tommy (glorious years, balance, good marriage, I am you and what I see is me), that intro of the most successful Who album, Quadrophenia (fight between Roger and Pete), Keith ("can anybody play the drums?"), no more concerts and the awesome "Who Are You" after the return of Keith to England (Keith died weeks after Who Are You was released). Is just fantastic the "Won't Get Fooled Again" part from the Concert for the New York City, "just celebrating the old music". And sadly John passed away in 2002, he died like many musicians would like to and I just love what happened with Roger and Pete after their friend passed away. The Who is for sure one of the great bands of all-time and I simply loved this documentary 10 out of 10
PS: I haven't seen yet the Tommy film. In the documentary is totally bashed by Noel Gallagher and Steve Jones yet Pete loves it.
For anyone who was (or still is)an ardent Who fan,this is a "must see" documentary. It attempts to tell the tale of all four central members of The Who, from square one, incorporating interviews from not just surviving members of the band (Pete Townsend & Roger Daltry),but also the likes of The Edge (U2),Noel Gallagher (Oasis),Pete Townsend's brother,Simon Townsend,Shel Talmy (the Who's original manager),and a host of others. Ultra rare early film clips of the band are plentiful here (including a clip of The Who's Coca Cola advert from 1966,as well as footage of The High Numbers---an early version of The Who,from 1963 or 1964). The film also includes video footage of a recording session of the surviving members of The Who recording some new material,that is augmented with the likes of Greg Lake (from King Crimson & Emerson,Lake & Palmer),Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr),and John "Rabbit" Bundrick (from the early 1970's band,Free),that was filmed by D.A. Pennebaker & company (that originally filmed The Who at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967,for his film 'Monterey Pop'). If you enjoyed 'The Kids Are Alright' as much as I did, you owe it to yourself to seek this one out. Available in two versions: the (nearly)four hour version (available on DVD),as well as a 90 minute cut version that briefly ran in cinemas. Not rated,but contains pervasive strong language.
I'm a huge fan of the who for only being 15. i stayed up until 3 o clock in the morning yesterday just to watch this film because i wanted to see it so bad. by the end of the film i was very pleased and i loved it! it was definitely worth staying up for and was not, i repeat, was not a movie just for the die hard fans as some would say. you don't have to like the who, know anything about music, or even have been born in that era to know that this movie was an absolute work of art. amazing journey was exciting, happy, and it was sad. but i guess thats the who's journey and it was true. i loved the way their story was told by the surviving members (pete and roger) along with some others. they told their story how it happened to them and how they remembered it. there were good times and there were bad times, but either way, the directors did an excellent job in helping to tell this amazing tale of the who's journey.....hats off.
For die-hard Who fans, this is definitely worth seeing. Lots of good,
rarely-seen footage of concerts and interviews.
Of particular interest is the dynamic between the two surviving original members, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. Townshend often comes across as an utterly conceited asshole, especially in his assessment of Daltrey's role in the band. Nevertheless, he makes it clear that the band and his own songwriting would not have been what they were without Daltrey. Daltrey comes across as the uncompromised survivor of the Who's "amazing journey," the spirit that held them together.
One of the band's most powerful eras -- the late 70s and early 80s -- is given short shrift, as is Townshend's near-fatal tangles with heroin during this period. Kenney Jones, who replaced Keith Moon and solidified the Who's live performances during these years, is practically ignored.
Even for those who aren't true Who-heads, "Amazing Journey" is a decent introduction to one of the most important groups in the history of rock music.
WOW!!! Just saw a screening of the film at the Toronto International
Film Festival. It was a great documentary. The directors and producers
were on hand to answer questions.
The film follows the careers and lives of the members of The Who from the start of there musical careers till death or present day.
The directors and producers commented that they did not include much of the same footage as the Kids Are Alright because they wanted a different film not just an update of the other. They filtered through thousands of clips of footage and fixed up a large majority of it to be used in the film. Also an intense search for footage was done through an online website were fans could submit any bootlegged films they had.
An interesting side note, a section of the 2nd bonus disc to be released has a never before seen concert of The Who when they were the High Numbers. I grandson of a film maker found a canister of film at his grandfathers chalet and recognized the band playing in the film as an early performance by The Who. That is just amazing that this kind of footage is out there.
Overall it was truly and "Amazing Journey."
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